Warehouse lift control with SAP EWM Integrate warehouse lift systems into existing processes

They are considered practical storage solutions in the electronics industry, for small tool parts or even in the medical sector: storage lifts and storage lift systems. Like in a large drawer cabinet, items can be stored upwards in a very confined space. In order to keep the inventory stored in the lifts up-to-date in the ERP system, these warehouse lifts are usually offered including the associated warehouse management system or subsystem and middleware. But did you know that this is not necessary? Because warehouse lifts can be directly connected to SAP EWM without any detours. We explain why this is worthwhile and how the integration of warehouse lift systems into existing processes works.

Ideal storage technology for small parts

Storage lifts are automatic storage systems that work according to the "goods-to-person" principle. Storage lifts look like a large drawer cabinet with two rows of shelves or carriers, one at the front and one at the back. Between them is an elevator that pulls out individual trays and transports them to the service opening. The principle is similar to a paternoster elevator. Storage and picking are possible simultaneously with storage lifts. Other common names for this include:

  • Lift storage
  • Leanlift
  • Vertical or tray lift
  • Paternoster
  • Vertical carousel
  • Storage paternoster
  • In addition, there are the manufacturer names of the most common manufacturers (e.g. Kardex, Hänel, SSI)

The great advantage of warehouse lift systems: The space required for picking small parts that are sensitive to vibration, for example, is greatly reduced compared to other storage solutions. This is because warehouse lifts can store items over several floors in a very space-saving manner. This design, virtually in a confined space, makes this storage system ideal for the storage and retrieval of, for example, small parts, tools, long goods and small cartons. As a result, it is now a popular solution for the electronics industry, mechanical and automotive engineering, the medical sector and the hotel industry.

On the European market, well-known and frequently requested storage lifts include the Megamat from manufacturer Kardex, the Rotomat models from Hänel or the storage lifts from SSI Schäfer. According to manufacturers, the investment in such a system often pays for itself in less than a year.


  • Ceiling height is utilized in the best possible way
  • Space-saving storage
  • High picking performance possible (depending on design and manufacturer)
  • Suitable for goods with a medium to high picking frequency
  • Ensures optimized, short picking processes/reduced picking time
  • Closed design protects articles from dust and dirt
  • Increased work safety due to ergonomically designed warehouse lift superstructure

Warehouse lift integration into the SAP system and data transfer to SAP EWM

  • there is no need for separate data exchange
  • a high level of transparency and warehouse overview is achieved
  • direct lift control is possible
  • Additional subsystems (e.g. middleware) are no longer required.

By connecting a warehouse lift to SAP EWM, the inventory in the warehouse management system is updated automatically: The structure of the warehouse lifts is displayed in SAP EWM, such as the number and size of the compartments, the number of lifts, and trays. Items to be stored are recorded directly at the storage lift with a barcode scanner. SAP EWM receives the type and number of items and informs the employee about a free storage location. Each item putaway or pick can be confirmed directly in SAP EWM.

Warehouse management and warehouse lift: data is transmitted in real time.

For fast and precise processing, warehouse lifts should be integrated into the existing processes. To do this, they need a connection to the higher-level warehouse management system or to the ERP. In order to keep the inventories and warehouse positions of the lift up to date, it is possible to use the middleware supplied, which docks onto the interface to the warehouse management software and transmits information via a file or online interface. However, as is often the case, SAP demonstrates that there is another way and, above all, that it is much more secure: Because warehouse lifts can be directly connected to the SAP EWM warehouse management system: This avoids data loss, which can occur when using subsystems or middleware.

What happens when the warehouse lift is connected to SAP EWM?

  1. Through online interfaces (e.g. TCP/IP) or web-based technology, the connection between warehouse lift and SAP warehouse management system is established.
  2. As a result, the warehouse stock is automatically updated in real time, the warehouse management in SAP EWM and the lift are on the same level.
  3. Or (depending on the manufacturer) you can completely dispense with the warehouse management of the subsystem and map the warehouse management completely in SAP EWM: In this case, SAP EWM communicates directly with the PLC controller (or IPC) of the warehouse lift.
  4. The warehouse lift can thus be controlled directly from SAP.


Warehouse lift systems combine many advantages: The clever, ceiling-high lifts are, among other things, space-saving like few other systems. By integrating the warehouse lifts into the existing SAP environment using SAP EWM, they can be securely integrated into existing processes - without the risk of data loss. In addition, companies save themselves the need to use subsystems. By transferring data directly, warehouse lift systems become even more efficient and profitable in operation.

Do you still have questions? Then we look forward to hearing from you!